Has the time come to switch to a booster seat and you don't know whether to choose a booster with or without a backrest? At Fundación MAPFRE we will address the main differences between the two. In first place, use of a booster seat without a backrest is only recommended from 125 cm upwards. On the contrary, the booster with backrest can be used at all times as of 15 kg and until the child can directly use the adult seat belt.
The main function of the booster seat is to raise the child so that the seat belt can be correctly fastened. As we can see in the following picture and it should look like this:
As of 15 kg in weight, children can use group 2/3 car seats which include seat boosters, both with and without backrest. You must not change car seat group before the right moment: You should only change to the next child restraint system if your child has outgrown it. Here we talk about when to change to a seat booster.
In addition we recommend that children travel facing backwards as long as possible and at least until they are 4. There are currently car seats on the market that allow this to be done up to 18 and 25 kg.
If the time has come to change to a booster, you might ask yourself the following question: with or without a backrest? At Fundación MAPFRE the answer is clear: a booster with a back rest provides more protection to the minor.
Note that the booster simply raises the child so the three-point belt can be correctly fastened. The child is not tall enough yet to not need any support system. It is considered that from 150 cm onward no CRS is necessary, even if regulations only require up to 135 cm. However, the child must continue to use a booster if the shoulder strap touches his/her neck or lies just under his/her chin when fastening the seat belt.
A booster with a backrest offers more protection to the child. The child still travels in a car seat with side protection, better ergonomics and, moreover, it avoids mistakes when fastening the seat belt, as the belt has to go through specific slots. It offers greater protection to the hips, back, shoulders and head. It also keeps the child secured to the CRS in the event of an accident which does not occur with a booster without a backrest. It prevents the child's head from hitting the window or another part of the vehicle in the event of an accident.
The fact that the headrest can be adjusted according to the child's height means the belt can also be fastened in the correct position according to the height. Hence it correctly crosses over the collar-bone and not over the neck.
The lap belt must go over the pelvis and not over the stomach. Boosters with back rests guarantee these features thanks to their anchors.
Boosters without a backrest or a cushion may be more practical and occupy less space, but they definitely provide less protection.
Finally, we remind you that the changes made to car seat boosters only affect their approval, that is, only the car seats' manufacturers. In this infographic we address this topic.